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What kind of food should you feed your cat?

When you ask someone for advice on what kind of food to feed you cat, most people say “Buy the best you can afford.” The top quality food sold at most veterinary clinics and specialized pet supply stores will certainly help your cat live a long and healthy life, however the Canadian Association of Veterinary Medicine does recommend many brands of food sold at reasonable prices in most supermarkets. A list of the brands certified by the CAVM is listed on the web site of the association, along with a description of the certification process.

Briefly, the certification program works like this: manufacturers voluntarily submit their products for testing by an independent establishment and the results are sent to the CAVM which decides whether or not to give their seal of approval. This is a permanent process which guarantees that the products continue to meet the Association’s standards. As well, many brands of cat food sold in Canada are manufactured in the United States and these are verified by the Association of Food Control Officers (AAFCO). So, when you are shopping for cat food, look for the seal of approval by either the CAVM or the AAFCO.

Many specialized pet supply stores sell a variety of types of holistic foods which are made without chemicals, artificial colours nor certain cereals which some animals have difficulty digesting. For people who favor holistic foods, the choice is clear: if you wouldn’t eat it yourself, why would you give it to your pets?

Among the various types of food for cats available on the market, there are those especially made for cats with special needs. For examples, kittens need food that is high in calories, protein and minerals up to the age of six months. You can also find food for older cats, cats who are obese, formulas that reduce tartar on the teeth, and others that have low magnesium for cats with urinary problems. If you cat has a particular health problem, you should first of all consult a veterinarian. Buying food designed to meet our cats special needs may cost more initially, but you will are likely to spend less time and money at the vet clinic-and therefore saving money in the long run.

As for whether to feed your cat dry or canned food there is rarely a consensus on this point. While certain cats seem to be happy with a diet of dry food only, others turn up their noses at anything that doesn’t come out of a can. Many cat owners compromise by making dry food available at all times but complementing this menu with small amounts of canned food once or twice a day. The Veterinary Medicine association says it has not proven conclusively that dried food prevents dental problems, but that their research does favor dried food, since canned food tends to accumulate around the gums. Some people opt for brushing their cat’s teeth and if you decide to try this, your veterinarian can show you how.

As for giving milk to your cat, this is not recommended as many cats are lactose intolerant and have difficulty digesting milk. Always make sure that your cat has a bowl of fresh, clean water.

Finally, not matter what brand or type of food you decide to give to your cat, always make sure that it gets a large serving of love along side. The site for the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association (CVMA) provides tools and tips to make good choices about cats nutrition. Here is the link to his document library: CVMA – Document Library.

Or you can enter “holistic food” or “healthy food for animals” or the name of your usual brand of food to get more information on the different types of food available for your pet. You can then make an informed choice which will help to keep your pet healthy.

LACROIX formula-milk for kittens

Vet clinics and pet supply stores sell special milk for kittens but if you need to nourish kittens before you can purchase these products, you can use the Lacroix formula. Do not give regular milk or cream to cats, even adults. Cats do not digest cows’ milk very well. 4 ounces of evaporated (concentrated) unsweetened milk (such as Carnation®) mixed with:

  • 4 ounces of water (boiled if the cat is less than one month old)
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tablespoon corn syrup
  • 10 drops of Vetamino (if available)

Give this mixture (Lukewarm*) every three hours using a bottle designed for feeding kittens. If you don’t have a bottle, you can use a small spoon or a clean eye dropper and remember, kittens must be fed often. A one-week old kitten will need about ½ an ounce every three hours. It may want more-or less-let the kitten decide. Once it begins to accept regular feeding, you can begin to stop worrying.

*Lukewarm: Test the temperature on the inside of your arm. It should not be too hot or too cold.

Note: When you are looking after a kitten which has lost its mother, it is very important to help it urinate. The kitten can not do this alone and its mother would lick the kitten in the anal area. It will be necessary for you to stimulate the kitten by rubbing this area until it urinates.